New ABA president to focus on legal education reform, announces commission members

The new president of the American Bar Association is taking steps to begin her work toward legal education reform by appointing members to a new commission designed to help the profession navigate future changes in legal education.

Miami attorney Hilarie Bass, who was sworn in this week as ABA president, announced Wednesday her appointments to the 10-member Commission on the Future of Legal Education. The commission, created by the ABA Board of Governors in February, is designed to work alongside the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to “explore possible changes to methods of training and testing the future generations of law students.” Areas of focus for the commission will include the bar exam, alternative teaching methods, length of law school and other issues still to be identified.

The commission will be chaired by Patricia D. White, dean and professor of law at University of Miami School of Law, and will included members from various disciplines within the legal profession. They are:

•    David Faigman, University of California Hastings College of Law chancellor and dean
•    Horacio E. Gutierrez, Spotify general counsel
•    Gillian Hadfield, University of Southern California Center for Law and Social Science director; professor of law
•    Hon. Andrew D. Hurwitz, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge
•    Deborah Jones Merritt, Ohio State University chair in law
•    Blake D. Morant, George Washington University School of Law dean
•    David Stern, Equal Justice Works executive director
•    Richard Susskind, professor in the United Kingdom; IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
•    David B. Wilkins, Harvard Law School professor, vice dean of Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession; Center on the Legal Profession director

In a joint statement released Wednesday, Bass and Maureen O’Rourke, chair of the council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the bar, said they “look forward to working together to ensure that legal education in this county provides the best possible preparation for the nation’s future lawyers.” In addition to legal education reform, Bass’ presidency will focus on advancing women in the law, establishing a legal fact-check program and addressing the legal needs of homeless youth.

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